‘Parks and Recreation’ Recap: Animal Out-of-Control

Credit: Danny Feld/NBC

Filled with a possum, a trip to the hospital, and a surprise promotion — not to mention something called “blood spurt” — “Animal Control” packs quite the punch. Leslie (Amy Poehler) takes on the defunct Animal Control department while Ben (Adam Scott) seeks new donors for the Sweetums Foundation and Ron (Nick Offerman) faces his most formidable foe — no, not Tammy 2. Laughter (as always) ensues. 

I. There are four ways to skin a cat. 

We got our first glimpse at Pawnee’s Animal Control department when the Department of Emergency Preparedness dropped in to execute their annual drill… and it wasn’t pretty. (Refresher: No, dude, you can’t kill all the chickens.) But when Leslie and Chris (Rob Lowe) swing by to evaluate its efficiency, we are greeted with a picture bleaker than we even imagined. While Pawnee is overrun with vermin, the Department of Animal Control is run by two stoners who don’t know a cat from a possum and who’s greatest achievement is their non-working recreation of the Flintstone’s bird horn. When Chris steps into an animal trap — seriously injuring one of his running feet — it’s the final straw; Stoner No. 1 and Stoner No. 2 are dunzo. 

It’s up to the City Council to name a new Director of Animal Control, and Councilman Jamm (Boo! Hiss! You’re the worst!) knows just the guy. He’s kind of an alcoholic, teaches kids breakdancing, and has fantastic teeth. Leslie is all, “Oh hell no!” — except less sweary, Leslie doesn’t swear — and demands proposes that each member of the city council nominate someone for the position. 

Binders in hand and April and Chris by her side, Leslie sets forth to find the perfect candidate. Let the interviews begin! After dismissing two familiar-looking marijuana enthusiasts (“Whoa, that’s this job?”), an under-qualified Jerry (who earns himself a salary reduction by revealing that he only went to a two-year college, duh), a man who seems too excited by the prospect of having unfettered access neutering equipment, and Orin, Leslie is… underwhelmed.

Who in the heck does Leslie know who is qualified for the position, loves animals, and is surprisingly committed to small town government? Hmm… this one’s tricky. I totally didn’t see it coming at all when Leslie tells April she has nominated her for the job. And, surprise! April has to go in front of the City Council for questioning right that very instant. There’s no time like the present, right? 

Jamm, looking to do a little jamming — does he realize how dirty his catchphrase sounds? — rides April hard (I’m just going to go with it). He brings up April’s underage drinking in City Hall, reads her personal (sexual) emails to Andy, and provokes our young pessimist into threatening him. Things are not looking so good for April, so Leslie pulls her aside for a little pep talk. Give up, Leslie tells her. Leslie admits that she pushed April in front of the council too soon, and tells her to just give up and let the good-teeth loser have the job. To counter the most Debbie Downer pep talk of all time, April asks Leslie to trust her. 

Standing in front of the City Council once again, April totally saves the day. (Because of course, she’s the best.) You shouldn’t be looking for someone to run Animal Control, she says, because the entire department should just be dissolved into the Parks Department anyway. Everyone — even Jamm, who is tired of being on the losing side of things — approves her plan. 

So, in the happy ending we have come to expect in Pawnee, April gets her promotion after all; Leslie names her the Parks Dept’s Deputy Director of Animal Control. And while April doesn’t get to hire an intern or a Mexican elf, she does get a shiny new placard with her name on it. (Is anyone else wondering what happened to April’s veterinary school applications? 

II. Dennis Feinstein, Perfume Mogul

Settling in his new position as President of the Sweetums Foundation, Ben is dedicated to raising funds for the new charity. He enlists Tom’s help in buttering up Dennis Feinstein, perfume mogul, a**hole, and Pawnee’s resident multi-millionaire, in order to secure a hefty check. Andy, now working with Ben, is along for a “learning experience.”

Two seconds after speaking to Dennis — with whom, the savvy watcher will remember, Ben interview with for a job — Ben knows that he’s a terrible human. He cares more about his Rolexus (a Lexus filled with Rolexes) and hunting “foxes” than he does about people. 

After hours of unsuccessful brown-nosing, cigar smoking, and Toxic fragrance overdosing, Ben is ready to cinch the deal. Andy, however, is ready to speak is him. “You’re a dick,” he says. Dennis freaks out and throws them out of the cigar club.

The next day, Ben, Tom, Andy, return to Dennis’ Sideboob-filled (come on, it’s a perfume) office to apologize. “From the bottom of my heart, I want to say, ‘My bad,'” says Andy. And Dennis seems satisfied. He was hoping they would apologize, he says. He’s ready to forgive them, he says. He hands Ben a check for $25,000… made out to “Go F**k Yourself.” 

Andy was right, Dennis is a huge d**k. Tom, however, is awesome. He vows to donate five cents for every dollar made at Rent a Swag in the next month. 

III. I live the way I live, I eat the way I eat, and I’ll die the way I’ll die.

And what’s Ron Swanson doing amidst all this chaos? Our steak-loving libertarian is sick as sick can be. After watching a film “in which an orange fish separated from his father” with Diane’s and her children, he has contracted some sort of terrible disease — or, you know, a cold. 

Ann ushers Ron to the hospital, where he is forced to reveal intimate personal details (he is allergic to cowardice, weak-willed men, and hazelnuts, his D.O.B. is the springtime) and submit to a physical evaluation. 

The verdict? Ron has strep throat. An equally surly doctor, who is fond of Ron’s staidness, blows the sawdust from Ron’s ear and sends him on his way with a prescription for Penicillin. 

Ann returns later that day with the rest of Ron’s test results. His chlorestoral is good, his blood pressure is fine, but his potassium needs some work. Ron, however, isn’t looking for dietary recommendations. “I live the way I live, I eat the way I eat, and I’ll die the way I’ll die,” he proclaims. Ann tells Ron that, while oddly poetic, his words are now selfish. He isn’t alone anymore — he is now connected to a woman and children who love him, and whom he loves in return. Eat a banana, Ann says, for their sake. 

Best line of the night: Sometimes words can only do so much. Watching Ron Swanson try to eat a banana defies explanation — and is completely amazing.

Follow Abbey on Twitter @AbbeyStone

‘Parks and Rec’ Recap: ‘Partridge’  
‘Parks and Rec’ Recap: ‘The Bailout’ 
The Big ‘Parks and Rec’ Wedding is Perfect

From Our Partners
Jessica Alba Bikinis in St. Barts (Celebuzz)
Which Game of Thrones Actor Looks Least Like His On-Screen Character? (Vulture)